Our Mission

Our mission is to protect and restore the health of Northwest Straits’ marine resources by promoting and implementing science-based restoration and stewardship, enhancing collaboration, and attracting resources for the work of the Northwest Straits Initiative.

Since being founded in 2002, we’ve invested millions of dollars of private and corporate contributions in education, protection, and conservation across the seven-county region of the Northwest Straits.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. -Jacques Yves Cousteau


We work in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and
the Marine Resources Committees to support restoration and education projects across the region.

Learn more about our partners: Northwest Straits Commission and Marine Resources Committees

Board of Directors

Anne Murphy


Anne Murphy, a first generation resident of the Salish Sea region, was born in the Ohio River Valley of Kentucky. She moved west to attend Oregon State University for a degree in Natural Resource Management. She migrated to the North Olympic Peninsula to engage in coastal issues, resulting in a 27-year career in the non-profit, education and conservation field. As Executive Director of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Anne developed education programs and exhibits featuring Salish Sea marine life and conservation. She promoted citizen participation in science by establishing a community research lab that became the backbone of one of the region’s strongest citizen science programs. Since retiring in 2013, she remains hands-on with conservation through the Jefferson Marine Resources Committee and personal projects.

Read More

Jerry Masters

Vice President

Jerry Masters is general manager for Valley Supply, a regional building supply company, and has represented economic interests on the Snohomish MRC, including serving two terms as chair of the committee. He also serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Northwest Straits Commission. Jerry is excited by the Initiative’s ability to accomplish work through voluntary actions and its sense that responsibility for environmental outcomes should be shared by all.

Read More

Betsy Lyons


Betsy Lyons has over 17 years of experience working collaboratively on scientific research, policy and conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest. She has worked on a broad range of issues including forest canopy research, rare plant conservation, natural area stewardship, native oyster restoration, water quality, shoreline and estuary restoration and climate change. Her interest is in bring together people, funding, technical resources and sound science to make informed decisions and strategic investments in Puget Sound. She believes healthy, functioning habitats are key to supporting vibrant and sustainable local communities. She values the Northwest Straits Foundation's commitment to informed policy through sound science, citizen engagement, public-private partnerships, and voluntary conservation. Betsy was an integral member of the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Program which created the state’s nearshore ecosystem restoration strategy for Puget Sound. She helped create and manage the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program which provides funding and technical assistance for high quality nearshore restoration, protection and monitoring in Puget Sound. She has a BS in Botany from the University of Washington and a Master of Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College.  She currently lives and works in the Seattle area.

Read More

Simon Geerlofs


Simon has lived, worked, and played on Puget Sound for most of his life (aside from two separate stints in Washington DC, where he worked for Senator Maria Cantwell and the Department of Energy's Wind and Water Power Program). He served on the Snohomish County MRC from 2010-2016, as vice chair for during the last three of those years. Before that, Simon was the Marine Programs Manager for the NWS Commission. These days, Simon stays busy as a Program Manager for Pacific NW National Laboratory's Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim. He splits his time between the Laboratory and running a small film production studio, Transect Films, with his wife, Faith. Simon, Faith, and their five-year-old daughter, Hala recently moved to Bellingham.

Read More

Jay Lind

Board Member

Jay Lind is a third generation seafood processor with experience in marketing, quality control, finance, plant management, and international trade. He has a business degree from the University of Puget Sound and is currently involved with importing squid products and trading in seafood from the North Pacific. Jay is a member of the Skagit Marine Resources Committee.

Read More

Nan McKay

Board Member

Nan McKay serves as Governor's appointee to the Northwest Straits Commission and was a former chair.  She lives in Seattle where she is a Senior Advisor for 501 Commons Service Corps--orienting and supporting volunteers who help build the capacity of nonprofits throughout Washington State.  She had her own consulting practice and has worked with nonprofits, foundations and local governments.  Nan previously managed the Environmental Sustainability Program for The Russell Family Foundation.  From 1985 to 2002, she served three Washington Governors, first as deputy director and executive director of the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority and later as chair of the Puget Sound Action Team.  Prior to that, Nan worked as Energy Project Coordinator for the Washington State associations of cities and counties.  She also worked for the League of Oregon Cities on issues ranging from land use and growth management to energy policy and election law.  Nan has served on a variety of public and nonprofit boards.  She was a founding member of the Association of National Estuary Programs and is a past president of the Environmental Education Association of Washington.  She currently chairs the board of the Sustainable Path Foundation and serves on the boards of North Cascades Institute and Western River Conservancy.  She is also a member of advisory boards to Curriculum for the Bioregion, the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, and the Salish Sea Institute.

Read More


Join the hundreds of volunteers who help us every year! Your work will help protect the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and marine resources.

Volunteer today!

Northwest Straits Foundation Staff

Don Hunger

Executive Director


Don brings a national career in collaborative conservation and natural resource management to the Northwest Straits Foundation. As former vice president of government affairs, he led the Student Conservation Association’s work in congressional and agency affairs, cooperative agreements, natural resource initiatives and partnerships. Prior to serving as VP, Don was SCA’s Alaska regional director establishing its state office, and strategic alliances supporting programs in fisheries, forestry and recreation resources.

His national programs include wildland fire community assistance with the National Interagency Fire Center; wilderness management with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute; and, invasive species treatment and monitoring with BLM.

Don served as wilderness social scientist and planner with the USDA Forest Service; founder and board chair of the Society of Wilderness Stewardship; member of the Western Governors Association Forest Health Advisory Committee; and member of the Public Lands Service Coalition. He currently serves as board vice president of the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association board of directors.

Don holds a MES degree in environmental studies from The Evergreen State College, BA degree in environmental journalism from Western Washington University and a USCG 50-T Masters license.

Read More

Caroline Gibson

Director of Partnerships


I've come full circle in the Northwest Straits Initiative, having previously spent 3 1/2 years as Executive Director of the Foundation, six years managing programs for the Northwest Straits Commission and four on the Jefferson MRC. I'm a self-professed aficionado of sharks, natural history dioramas, and Washington wines, and previously spent more than a decade in the nonprofit sector, much of it as External Relations Director with Pacific Marine Conservation Council.  I am a passionate advocate for community-based conservation, and have served on a variety of regional advisory boards and committees. I hold extensive at-sea experience and studied marine sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Maine.

Read More

Lisa Kaufman

Nearshore Program Manager


I manage shoreline restoration projects on behalf of the Foundation and MRCs, and I was formerly the Restoration Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. I've worked on restoration projects around the region and was key to successful implementation of the Northwest Straits Initiative's creosote debris removal program and an important partner on many nearshore projects.

Read More

Jason Morgan

Marine Projects Manager


I manage the Derelict Fishing Gear Program and Shoreline Restoration Monitoring. Prior to joining the Foundation, I worked for six years in commercial fisheries management, this helped me gain extensive field experience in the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program, and was a key component to the successful start of the IFQ Catch Monitor Program. In addition to a busy professional life, I'm an active volunteer devoting time to community outreach and environmental stewardship programs.

Read More

Claire Surber

Administrative Coordinator


Proudly a Pacific Northwest native, I am a recent graduate of Western Washington University with a major in Geography/Social Studies, certification in Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) and a minor in Anthropology. At the Northwest Straits Foundation, I take on a variety of administrative duties, including managing multiple databases, fundraising support and project and grant support for the Foundation. I'm also our current GIS Technician working on maps to help tell the stories behind the projects here at the NWSF. I think being passionate about engaging people with their environment is integral to community building, place-making and sustainability. In my free time, I'll be out exploring the PNW, grabbing coffee at a local café or visiting my hometown of Port Townsend, WA.

Read More

Kenny Clarkson

Communications Specialist


A Maryland native, I moved to Western Washington in 2012 to pursue writing and a passion for the outdoors. In 2016, I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in news/editorial journalism from Western Washington University. Since an early age, conservation and the upholding of wild places have been important to me. An avid skier, hiker and backpacker, the environment of Western Washington has provided recreational opportunity, peace of mind and refuge since I arrived in Bellingham. As communications specialist for the Northwest Straits Foundation, it is my job to inform the public of the work being done to protect and restore the Salish Sea.

Read More

Join Our Email List

Stay up-to-date on our latest projects, news, and events!